The various scenarios under which Ticketmaster and Live Nation might satisfy Department of Justice (DOJ) officials in order to get their merger approved still present some difficulties, but Ticketmaster Entertainment CEO Irving Azoff remains as confident as ever that the deal will go through.
Before a group of entertainment lawyers and others over the weekend, Azoff said he still believes the merger will happen, and he sounded as defiant as ever concerning his views against the secondary ticket market.
“I tell them [government officials] that they wouldn’t allow someone on the street to scalp a gallon of gasoline when there’s an oil crisis” Azoff said, as reported by BusinessWeek. “Why would they allow someone to stand on a street corner and scalp a ticket when it’s in high demand, too?”
Ticketmaster, through its TicketsNow subsidiary, resells tickets, too, and Azoff has said that he would like to sell the company. The move could help with federal regulators, but selling it remains a difficult proposition, in no small part to Azoff’s criticism of the secondary ticket market and the $265 million Ticketmaster spent to acquire the company. In addition, the sale of TicketsNow would not address Ticketmaster’s TicketExchange, where dozens of sports teams and artists resell tickets at a premium, nor does it stop Ticketmaster from marketing VIP or other premium seat packages.
“It’s up to those rights owners [teams and artists] to decide what they want to do with those tickets,” Azoff said over the weekend, as reported by BusinessWeek.
Besides Ticketmaster’s potential problem with TicketsNow, Live Nation also could have some issues to resolve with some of its contracts, namely with CTS Eventim, the German company that provides the technology backbone for Live Nation’s fledgling ticketing operation, and with SMG, the venues operator that signed a ticketing deal with Live Nation.
With these contracts, Live Nation and Ticketmaster would have enormous control over new markets (SMG-operated venues) and new entrants into the primary ticketing industry (theoretically, Live Nation could possibly try to squash a deal CTS Eventim might try to sign with a competing company). In both cases, the obstacles might be surmountable, but they pose additional concerns.
Azoff doesn’t believe any significant obstacles exist. “We would never have undertaken this merger if we thought it wasn’t legal,” he said, according to BusinessWeek.
(The image accompanying this story is from Boston.com)